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    Best Practices! - Entries from November 2012

    Home - Blog - Best Practices! - Entries from November 2012
    MonMondayNovNovember19th2012 3 Reasons Churches Should Utilize Buffer
    byDavid Pohlmeier Tagged Social Media 0 comments Add comment

    For the past several months iMinistries has been using Buffer to schedule all of our tweets to Twitter and posts to Facebook.

    It has helped increase our following and improved our abilities to effectively engage iMinistries with our audience. Buffer provides real-time statistics of your tweets and posts. It shows who has shared, liked, favorited, re-tweeted, etc.

    Here are a 3 ways that Buffer can be utilized to help your church or ministry with it's social media presence.

    1. Know what's working - With it's ability to show you statistics of engagement, you'll be able to start posting content based on your experience. Trial and error at the beginning can lead to much higher engagement after you know what's been working.

    2. Get on a schedule - It helps you, the content creator, to know that you've set expectations for yourself. Setting a schedule and sticking with it is easier than posting randomly.

    3. It makes posting downright easy - There are browser plugins. Find an article you want to share, click the Buffer icon, modify the text as you wish and hit schedule. That's it. (Quick tip: if you highlight text on the page, then hit the Buffer icon, it will use that text as your post message making it even easier.) Add multiple social accounts and work with multiple team members. All with one Buffer account.

    Does Buffer interest you? If so, let us know in the comments below.

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    ThuThursdayNovNovember15th2012 Recent Email Issues
    byDavid Pohlmeier Tagged Company News 0 comments Add comment
    As many of you are aware, iMinistries has recently been suffering some downtime with email over the last few days. One of the accounts on our server was compromised by a hacker and was used to send out spam. Lots of spam. When we caught it, that account had already shut down our mail server and there were over 150,000 emails left on the server to be deleted. Unfortunately, it takes time to dig out of a mess like this. For over 8 hours yesterday email after email was being deleted continuously. We also got blacklisted by email watch groups and have applied for reinstatement with all of them already. This can take some time to process as it's out of our control.

    We realize this has been very frustrating for many of you who do use our email and haven't been able to send or receive emails. We do apologize and understand the frustration.

    You can help us avoid this in the future. Here are the two simplest ways:
    1. Use good passwords. Use combinations, of numbers, letters, capital and lowercase, fake words, etc. Please make them difficult. We cannot stress this enough.
    2. Do not provide your login credentials to anyone. Ever. We won't ever ask for it and there is no need to give it to anyone.
    We also cannot stress the importance of following us on Twitter or liking us on Facebook. When major issues like this occur it's the best way for us to communicate with our clients that we are having an issue. You don't even have to follow us on Twitter, you can simply check our page to see the updates if you want. 
    MonMondayNovNovember5th2012 4 Things the First Thanksgiving Can Teach us About Church Websites
    byBryan Young Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    On Thursday, Americans will sit around tables with family and gorge themselves with food. Afterward, they'll try to stave off naps with football and pumpkin pie. And, if they remember, they'll thank God for the many blessings he's provided them over the past year.

    Our history books (Wikipedia) tell us that this event hearkens back to a 1621 feast held by Pilgrims and members of the Wampanoag tribe to celebrate a successful harvest season. Since history can be studied to teach us lessons for the future, I thought it would be fun to see what the first Thanksgiving could teach us about church websites.

    Don't assume newcomers know what they're doing.

    "Squanto, a Patuxet Native American who resided with the Wampanoag tribe, taught the Pilgrims how to catch eel and grow corn and served as an interpreter for them."
    After landing in Plymouth in 1620, the Pilgrims found their new home unforgiving--less than half of the original survived the first winter. It was only because the local Native Americans welcomed them and showed them how to gather food that they later thrived.

    Church Website Wisdom
    If your visitors are new to your site, they could be easily overwhelmed by confusing navigation and uncertain messaging. Make it clear what your users should do next with clear calls to action.

    Put your own spin on the commonly done--it might go viral.

    "Thanksgiving services were routine in what was to become the Commonwealth of Virginia as early as 1607, with the first permanent settlement of Jamestown, Virginia holding a thanksgiving in 1610 ... harvest festivals [previously] existed in English and Wampanoag tradition alike."
    The first Thanksgiving was not the first time a similar event had taken place. Other harvest feasts in the U.S. were celebrated as far back as the 16th century, but when we think Thanksgiving, we think of the one held in Plymouth.

    Church Website Wisdom
    Just because pastor blogs, sermon podcasts, ministry videos, and other content have been made before, doesn't mean you can't do it better. Be creative when posting content on your church website and watch it spread.

    Being social and sharing are good.

    "Wampanoag leader Massasoit had donated food stores to the fledgling colony during the first winter when supplies brought from England were insufficient ... The celebration lasted three days and featured a feast that included numerous types of waterfowl, wild turkeys and fish procured by the colonists, and five deer brought by the Native Americans."

    The Pilgrims weren't alone when they celebrated Thanksgiving. They were joined by 90 Native Americans, contributing food and reveling in the colony's success.

    Church Website Wisdom
    Engaging your users through social media, by re-posting content from your website on Facebook or linking to it from Twitter, is an effective way to get people to your website. Getting people to interact with or share your content with others also can positively influence your search rankings.

    Focus on the purpose.

    "Thus they found the Lord to be with them in all their ways, and to bless their outgoings and incomings, for which let His holy name have the praise forever, to all posterity." - William Bradford
    Although the Pilgrims had achieved some success in hunting, harvesting crops, and reviving a dying colony the Pilgrims did not forget the true source of their blessings--God and the Native Americans whom God sent.

    Church Website Wisdom
    Never forget why your website exists. It is for your users to find information about you and your ministry, and ultimately to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. This understanding will drive everything else you do on your website.

    Originally published on Nov. 21, 2011

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